In 2019, Fresh Art International set about to record conversations with students in the United States and Canada. The first three episodes in the new Student Edition feature voices from Detroit, Toronto, and Chicago. In their communities, in other countries and online, these students had the opportunity to apply their education to envision, and potentially actualize, a better future. They all worked to tackle contemporary social issues.
I’m really inspired by how many people are involved and actually care about food and the environment and the community. Ben, Wayne State
Wayne State Industrial Design students take on issues of social justice to make it possible for disadvantaged people to access local fresh produce in Detroit. The way they tackled this challenge last semester was to work with a local entrepreneur to design a mobile fruit and vegetable market that will allow her to bring food to neighborhoods known as “food deserts.” The challenge of residents in those areas is that they don’t live within easy reach of fresh, healthy food. Wayne State students are determined to improve the odds for these individuals to sustain a healthy diet, a privilege primarily enjoyed by those of higher economic status.
Instead of the museum just being a place to exhibit art, in this removed upper-class activity, ….it’s more of a space for people to come together and share their ideas with each other. Summer, SAIC
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago students involved with the Imagining Tomorrow seminar became free speech warriors. In their episode, they express an opinion that we live in a very censored world and distorted reality. This is a common point of view for many of us who feel that the media changes the truth, and that the government is always watching the things we do. Their proposals to the KVM museum in Karlsruhe, Germany, aimed to create platforms that encourage free thinking and free expression. One group of students designed a Digital Agora, an online forum as an intimate community environment inviting the free and unfiltered exchange of ideas. In their virtual public space, everyone (not only those with financial means to physically enter the museum) would have access to the space, and freely connect online.
I personally want to represent the Latin American community…I feel like technology and social media is actually the space that my entire culture, at least the people from my country, use to feel connected to each other, not so far away. Stefania, OCADU
Graduate students at the Ontario College of Art and Design also want to promote free thought and equal access on the web. Before they even created their online exhibition platform, they expressed a belief that their curatorial project would give unheard artists a voice. In conversation with Fresh Art International, two students talked about activating social media to invite the global Hispanic community and artists based in remote parts of Canada to participate. The Toronto-based curatorial collective they formed was able to engage with an international community online. The resulting web-based exhibition widened the conversation about virtual intimacy.
These Student Edition episodes reveal a future we can look forward to. They show our potential for creating a more connected world. The latest community-focused industrial designs coming out of Wayne State increase access to healthy foods for more residents of Detroit. They focus on creating a sustainable future for their neighbors. Students at SAIC and OCADU apply technology to the design of new platforms for creative expression. One imagines a digital realm where all are invited to speak their minds. The other creates an online environment for art, claiming a space to explore intimacy on the web.
Contributed by Diana Borras, University of Miami
The Student Edition began in 2019, with visits to art schools and universities in the United States and Canada, where we began recording voices of the future. In 2020, we present the first episodes in our Student Edition—conversations about creativity with emerging makers and producers. Given opportunities to explore and experiment, students are discovering how they can shape the world they live in.
Diana Borras is a senior at the University of Miami, majoring in Political Science, with a minor in International Studies. After living in Colombia, New York and Prague, she now calls Miami home. Borras is currently taking an experiential course with Fresh Art’s founder at UM, learning how to express herself through the audio-centric world of podcasting.